The case of psychologist Ana Estrada, who is asking to end her life, revives the debate on the legalization of euthanasia in the region. What is the debate, where is it allowed and how should it be regulated? In this context, on Wednesday, June 1, during the first public presentation of Gabriel Boric, the urgency of the law regulating the right to euthanasia in Chile was announced. Or rather, the bill that amends Law 20.584 on palliative care and dignified death. The founder of the Observatory of Bioethics and Law of the University of Barcelona, Dr. María Casado, explained that “technology presents us with dilemmas because people do not die at home, but are surrounded by machines, death is a process and not an instance (…) We talk about death in a distant and massive way, but never when it treats us. There are people who do not want to live at any cost, so autonomy must be respected. In this context, Senator Quinteros acknowledged that “today, death has become a recurring topic of conversation related to the pandemic. This is a special moment, because Chile is undergoing profound changes. We are a country with deep inequalities, and health is no exception. The bill establishes the absolute prohibition of any form of advertising of “offers from centers, institutions, services, means, technical advantages or procedures” relating to methods intended for euthanasia.
He added: “In addition, these bills aim to enact laws on physician-assisted death, which includes euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. That is a much more controversial aspect of the law. On the one hand, there is respect for the autonomy of people who want to end their lives when they are in a situation of progressive, advanced illness, which causes a lot of suffering and is irreversible. On the other hand, access to palliative care is currently limited, which can lead the inhabitants of this state to request euthanasia because their suffering is not covered by national health systems. And finally, we must take into account the conscience of doctors who have never worked in Chile, with the possibility of facing medically assisted death. The requirements include that the applicant is legally resident in Chile, over 18 years of age, has a psychiatric report confirming this at the time of application, and has been diagnosed with a “serious and incurable” illness from two specialists. To contribute to this virtual conversation, the President of the Health Committee, Senator Rabindranath Quinteros, organized the webinar “Euthanasia and the right to die with dignity: an essential debate”, moderated by the founder of the Observatory of Bioethics and Law of the University of Barcelona, Dr. María Casado; and the Master`s degree in Bioethics from the University of Chile, Dr. Gladys Bórquez. Last Wednesday, in his first public briefing, President Gabriel Boric announced the urgency of the law regulating the right to euthanasia in Chile.
Here is what we know about the bill in the Senate. In recent years, euthanasia, dignified death and euthanasia have been the subject of debate. On this point, the draft law regulating the right to euthanasia in Chile stipulates that the doctor who must provide assistance may dispense with the procedure. As long as you have already spoken out against the management of the health facility for reasons of conscience. Meanwhile, the Master in Bioethics at the University of Chile, Dr. Gladys Bórquez, said that “the project under discussion is confusing. For many, death with dignity does not speak of euthanasia, and that is when palliative care is understood. The death requested is euthanasia. I think it should be explicitly emphasized that the project is euthanasia. The document, which is in the House of Lords, “amends Act No. 20.584, which regulates the rights and obligations that people have in relation to actions related to their health care to enable a dignified death or euthanasia.” For years, she has tried to enact laws on issues such as death with dignity or approval of euthanasia.
Well, from May 20 to May 23. In June, citizens will be able to participate in this important debate on the Virtual Congress platform. It should be noted that the bill, which goes from the House of Commons to the Senate, ensures that euthanasia is indicated for patients with an incurable disease, but it is not closed to all cases that say that people who suffer from a serious pathology that causes them unbearable suffering could also be candidates. “In most countries where euthanasia or assisted suicide is practiced, it is a process conducted with legal support that decriminalizes the act of ending a person`s life under certain conditions and according to a strict protocol that ensures that no vice or other interest is involved.” contextualized the pediatric surgeon. Dr. Schnettler believes that “as with any legislative discussion, there are many political, valuable, religious, or other positions that can obscure the true purpose of meeting the needs of the terminally ill. It cannot be ignored that these needs have not been met in accordance with the standards of a developed country, particularly in terms of universal access to quality palliative care. I therefore think it is good that these issues are discussed and that progress is made in improving the legal provisions, but this should always be in favour of the citizens and not because of other interests. “.